The Day The World Almost Imploded

The Desolate Garden was a work of fiction, or was it?

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan ordered the commencement of a NATO exercise named Able Archer ’83. Nothing unusual in that as each year NATO stretches its muscles with shows of strength.

1983 differed considerably. Prior to the exercise, a cordon of submarine beacons had been laid in the North Sea from Newfoundland to Iceland and from Scotland to Norway. US Naval task forces had increased in the Pacific and all of the UK and French nuclear missile carrying submarines had put to sea.

NATO aircrafts were flying to the limit of USSR radar installations, marking them then turning back at the last minute before entering Russian airspace. None of this was reported in the civilian press. As a precursor to a First Strike scenario the Politburo knew that radio traffic between the US and the UK would escalate; this it did and using a code not previously used, which was indecipherable to the Soviets.

Unlike the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the last time the world was on the brink of war, now it was the Russians being threatened not the West. To make matters worse for the USSR their early warning missile satellite, code name OKA had malfunctioned and was decommissioned awaiting repair. NATO’s readiness had been moved up to its most critical; DEFCON ONE, so when on the night of the 26th September a single ICBM leaving a silo in Nebraska was sighted by ground radar commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov he could have well pressed the button alerting his senior officers up the chain. But he did not. Nor did he panic when half an hour or so later three more ICBM’s were detected leaving the USA.

Within 16 hours Able Archer ’83 had run its course and Russian troops, air bases, naval forces and nuclear weapon ground control units were stood down. This was the closest the world came to imploding and it was saved by this man Stanislav Petrov who died last May aged 77.

Apart from the names all this, and more was told in The Desolate Garden.

May I introduce Stanislav Petrov:



About Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp, ex-London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver never planned to be a writer, but after his first novel —The Desolate Garden — was under a paid option to become a $30 million film for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company what else could he do? Nowadays he is a prolific storyteller and in May 2018 his book What Happened In Vienna, Jack? became a number one bestseller on four separate Amazon sites: America, UK, Canada and Australia. Although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows best; murders laced by the mystery involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he writes, namely: Why? A Complicated Love, and the intriguing story titled The Story That Had No Beginning. He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication, been described as —the new Graham Green — by a managerial employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of signing events, and he has appeared on ‘live' television in the UK.
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4 Responses to The Day The World Almost Imploded

  1. Onisha Ellis says:

    Fascinating story, Danny.

  2. Daniel Kemp says:

    Isn’t it just, Onisha. How the world was saved by a single man!

  3. I remember hearing about this on TV recently. It makes a person wonder if there were othery close calls we’ve had we didn’t know about. Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. 🙂 — Suzanne

  4. Daniel Kemp says:

    My pleasure, Suzanne.

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